We were contacted by James McCabe’s nephew in October 2011, who told us:
“My uncle James McCabe was with the 1st Battalion Royal Irish Fusiliers and was killed in action 26-2-1943 in Tunisia, aged 19. His army number was 7043299. I know that my uncle enlisted on 16-2-1939, and lied about his age at the time enlisting at Seaforth (Liverpool). Although his mother wrote to the army he remained in service. In fact he had gone overseas with the BEF on 3-10-1939 but returned to England, three months later on 2-12-39, probably as a consequence of his mother’s letter! He had enlisted with a friend of his who was killed about 3 months later in Sicilly. This was Andrew John Gardiner army number 7022284, who served with the 2nd Battalion London Irish Rifles, who, died 5-8-1943, aged 21.
I have a copy of my uncle’s service record which shows the following:
- Date of birth as declared on enlistment: 15-1-1921
- Date of birth as per birth certificate/letter from his mother (dated 3-10-1939) 20-3-1923
- Date of enlistment: 16-2-1939 ( so he was actually only 15 on enlistment )
- Sent overseas with BEF: 3-10-1939
- Returned to UK: 3-12-1939 where he remained in training (ITC 25) until sent to North Africa.
- Also in Dec 1942 he was on the X2 list for a while so I presume he had been wounded.
Please find attached a photo of his grave which I presume the army had sent to his mother.”